Builder Magazine is reporting that recent testing done by Colorado State University is proving that mid-rise wood frame buildings withstand earthquakes quite well:

“The testing thus far has shown that performance-based design for light-frame wood structures works,” says Steve Pryor, structural engineer for Simpson Strong-Tie in Pleasanton, Calif. “This will allow the engineering and building community to provide safer, better performing buildings in the most cost-effective manner.”

This could lead to structures that cost 30% less than steel structures in more locations.  Of course if the cap-and-trade legislation passes, those savings will be eaten alive my the rise in materiel costs. Nevertheless, this is good news for builders and an incentive to expand the contracting base that knows how to do this type of construction right.